There is a recent trend in the travel industry to make itemization a standard component of the purchasing process. The airline industry is leading the charge, requiring passengers to cough up extra dough for everything from checked baggage to a soda on board.
American, United and US Airways recently announced that they are preparing to begin collecting a service fee of $15 each way for the travelers’ first checked bag and $25 each way for their second.
An email I recently received from United:
In the Vacation Rental industry itemized fees are already common practice, but can often lead to disgruntled guests if not properly communicated. For instance, some property managers in Florida do not offer pool heat as a standard amenity and apply an additional fee if the guests request the pool to be heated. The rationale is quite simple, heating a pool is costly – therefore the managers offer it as an option to save renters money that didn’t feel it necessary to heat the pool. However, consumers often have pre-established expectations of what is “included” in their lodging experience, so despite the logic of itemizing certain services, itemization can lead to confusion and complaints. (Click here to see a recent review of a guest upset with an itemized charge)
Personally I find itemized fees annoying; however, I will admit that I’m getting used to them. As I and the general consumer becomes less sensitive to itemization it provides a cost effective way for vacation rental managers to more efficiently cover certain variable costs/services. To avoid complaints and confusion (see example above) upfront communication of variable fees is necessary… Consumers will never like itemized fees, but as long as they know about them in advance you will avoid upsetting an otherwise happy vacationer.